Red, White and Blue Popsicles Recipe (fruit-based, all natural)

all-natural red, white and blue popsicles | pamela salzman

Everyone in my family has drunk my Kool-Aid, so to speak.  My husband and my teenage daughters all have bought into my way of eating for the most part, understanding the connection between what they eat and how they feel (and in the case of my daughters, how they look.)  Although my 11-year-old son, whom I lovingly refer to as Mr. Picky, has been a little slow coming around.  My son quietly wishes I was a “cool mom.”  You know, the kind that buys “unhealthy food,” as he calls it.

all-natural red, white and blue popsicles | pamela salzman

Believe me when I say that he is not deprived of treats.   I know enough not to be one of those parents who prohibits her children from eating a grain of sugar or a not-homemade graham cracker.  But there are certain food substances that do not cross my front door.  Ever.  One of those is artificial colors.  So when my son asks me “why can’t we have ____?” (insert disaster-packaged-food-marketed-to-kids), I usually go on about why those food-like impostors are bad for our health or I just say, “because I love you too much.”  And he rolls his eyes.  There is less eye-rolling than he did a year ago, but that still annoys him.

all-natural red, white and blue popsicles | pamela salzman

So just before dropping my sweet boy off at sleepaway camp for 13 whole days, my husband was reminding him to shower (going in a pool or a lake doesn’t count) and brush his teeth, use sunscreen and keep hydrated.  As soon as I opened my mouth, Mr. Picky looked at me and said, “Don’t worry, Mom.  I got it.  Don’t forget to eat protein.  No high-fructose corn syrup and not too much junk food.”   Of course, I was like, “What?  I wasn’t going to even mention food.  Have the best time!  Love you so much!”  Busted.

all-natural red, white and blue popsicles | pamela salzman

Because Mr. Picky will be at camp on the 4th of July, I surprised him the other day with these red, white and blue popsicles.  Of course they are all natural.  But really natural, not like the “natural” food companies liberally use when marketing many products.  I had no idea if they were going to turn out good or boring or what.  I mean after all, they’re made out of …fruit.   What a concept.  And some coconut milk sweetened with honey.  Zzzzzzzzzzz…….

blueberry puree

all-natural red, white and blue popsicles | pamela salzman

I personally think these are very exciting and the perfect answer to Bomb Pops, especially if you use these cool stainless steel popsicle molds which you can find here.  I tasted each mixture before freezing to make sure the sweetness was just right, otherwise these are very straightforward and you can make them today for the 4th if you want.

all-natural red, white and blue popsicles | pamela salzman

They were a huge hit with all my kids, including Mr. Picky!  My girls thought they tasted like a really fresh-tasting sorbet.  My son gave me such a nice compliment when he said, “Wow, Mom.  These are actually pretty good.”  And then he had a second one.   I miss him already.

all-natural red, white and blue popsicles | pamela salzman

Red, White and Blue Popsicles Recipe (fruit-based, all natural)
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 7 ounces hulled strawberries*
  • ½ cup full fat coconut milk ( I like Aroy-D)
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ Tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
  • 1 ½ cups blueberries*
Instructions
  1. Place strawberries in blender or food processor and blend until you achieve a liquid consistency. Pour into bottom third of popsicle mold. Insert stick. Place in freezer for approximately 1 hour, or until frozen solid.
  2. Combine coconut milk, vanilla and honey in a measuring cup or a bowl with a spout. Remove popsicle mold from the freezer and pour the coconut layer on top of the frozen strawberry layer leaving the last third of the mold empty. Place back in the freezer and freeze for about 30-45 minutes until coconut mixture is firm, but it doesn’t have to be frozen solid. Place popsicle sticks in coconut mixture and put back in the freezer until completely frozen.
  3. Place blueberries in a blender or food processor and blend until you achieve a liquid consistency. Remove popsicle mold from the freezer and pour blueberry mixture into top third of mold, over the frozen coconut mixture. Place back in the freezer for another hour or until completely frozen solid.
  4. To remove from popsicle mold, gently run mold under warm water to release.
Notes
*Make sure to taste your fruit mixture first, if your fruit isn’t super sweet or you prefer a sweeter popsicle, feel free to add honey (or sweetener of choice) to taste to the fruit mixtures.

 

Whole grain strawberry scones recipe (gluten-free version, too!)

whole grain strawberry scones | pamela salzman

One of my guilty pleasures is a traditional English tea.  We used to live within walking distance of the Penninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills which (in my opinion) had the best tea in the city.  I used to take my girls on their birthdays for a special treat and I also remember celebrating my one of my birthdays there with some friends.  When we were in London with the kids two years ago, I could have cared less about any meal other than tea.  I really indulged that week and I enjoyed every glutinous (and gluttonous) crumb.  I love every aspect of a proper tea, from the tea itself to the sandwiches to the scones and clotted cream.  Lucky for me, by the time the small desserts are served, I am usually too stuffed to bother.

mix dry ingredients with diced strawberries and dark chocolate

My girls always lit up when the scones were served.  And so did I.  I would take a scone over a muffin any day.  Scones are a low-sugar (but high-flour) biscuit, basically.  They are are supposed to be light and tender and not too sweet since they are served with fruit preserves.  What’s funny is that even though scones feel light, they are anything but.  Most scone recipes call for lots of butter and heavy cream to keep them from being a dry hockey puck!

grate butter to keep it in pieces

I like plain scones just as much as ones with currants.  And a warm scone with a cup of tea makes me instantly relax for some reason.  Ironically, even though I love classic scones, I don’t make them that way at home.  I think we have spent enough time together to know that I don’t use white flour unless it’s absolutely necessary.  Same goes for sugar.  So naturally my scones will use whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour instead.  I have a taste for the nuttiness of whole grain flours as well as a preference for lower glycemic and more nutritious foods.  But if you don’t, or you want these to taste more like “regular” scones, feel free to sub an equal amount of white flour.  Or use half whole wheat pastry and half white flour.

toss in the grated butter

To further deviate from traditional scones, this recipe includes fresh strawberries and on occasion dark chocolate chunks.  Gasp!  I started testing this recipe with freeze-dried and regular dried strawberries and the scones were amazing.  And then I realized how much money I was spending on bags of dried strawberries and I thought it was a little silly to make such expensive scones.  So I turned to fresh strawberries which are actually a little tricky to work with because they’re a tad wet.  So the scone recipe can actually support 1 1/2 cups of stuff, but not 1 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries.  You can do 1 cup of fresh strawberries + 1/2 cup dried.  Or 1 cup fresh strawberries + 1/2 cup fresh blueberries.  Or you can take this recipe and turn it into blueberries scones, using 1 1/2 cups of fresh blueberries.

forming the scones

whole grain strawberry scones | pamela salzman

Well, it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday and I’m just saying that moms like a little attention.  They like to feel appreciated.  To wake up on Mother’s Day with breakfast in bed is a very nice way to start the day, especially if the breakfast-makers clean up after themselves in the kitchen, too.  (This is very important!)  These scones would be a good idea.  If you don’t have time to make scones on Sunday morning, why not make them today and freeze them today?  Pull them out of the freezer the night before and warm them in the oven the next morning.  One of these scones with a hot cup of tea and a little love from my kiddos, who would also abstain from bickering the whole day, is my dream morning.  Hint, hint.

whole grain strawberry scones | pamela salzman

whole grain strawberry scones | pamela salzman

whole grain strawberry scones | pamela salzman

Whole Grain Strawberry Scones
Author: 
Serves: makes 10-12 scones
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour or whole spelt flour (GF version on reverse)
  • 1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 ½ sticks (12 Tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 1 cup buttermilk, plus more as needed and for brushing tops
  • ⅓ cup grade A maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • optional add-ins: ½ cup fresh blueberries or ½ cup dark chocolate chunks
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Grate the butter into the bowl with a hand grater.  Use the paper wrapping to hold the butter.  Or cut the butter into pieces and working with a few pieces at a time, scoop some flour and butter mixture into your hands.  Squeeze butter with your fingertips pressing your thumbs across your fingers to flatten the butter into petal shapes.  Repeat until all butter is flattened and coated with flour mixture.
  2. Add strawberries (plus blueberries and/or chocolate if using) to flour/butter mixture and combine.
  3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, maple syrup, and vanilla.  Slowly add buttermilk mixture to flour/butter mixture, whisking constantly to combine, just until mixture begins to form clumps.  Add more buttermilk if necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time, until no dry flour remains in the bowl.
  4. Transfer mixture to a parchment-lined baking sheet.  Lightly dust your hands with flour and gather mixture into a ball, squeezing to form a dough (it may still crumble slightly).
  5. Flatten dough to a 1” thickness and fold in half.  Flatten and fold once more.  Gently shape into a 1” thick, 7” diameter round.  Cut into 10-12 wedges (or you can do a rectanglar and cut into squares), then separate them ½” apart.
  6. Brush tops with buttermilk.  Bake scones until puffed, golden brown on top, and hollow-sounding when tapped on bottoms, 15-18 minutes.  Let cool slightly on a wire cooling rack.

GLUTEN-FREE STRAWBERRY SCONES

adapted from King Arthur

makes 8 scones

 

1 ¾ cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Multi-Purpose Flour or 2 1/4 cups brown rice flour blend

¼ cup maple sugar or cane sugar

2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter or cold coconut oil

¾ cup diced fresh strawberries

2 large eggs

1/3 cup cold milk or almond milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

optional add-ins: ¼ cup fresh blueberries or dark chocolate chunks

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.
  3. Grate the butter into the bowl with a hand grater.  Use the paper wrapping to hold the butter.  Or cut the butter into pieces and working with a few pieces at a time.  Scoop some flour and butter mixture into your hands.  Squeeze butter with your fingertips pressing your thumbs across your fingers to flatten the butter into petal shapes.  Repeat until all butter is flattened and coated with flour mixture.
  4. Add strawberries (plus blueberries and/or chocolate if using) to flour/butter mixture and combine.
  5. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, and vanilla.  Slowly add milk mixture to flour/butter mixture, stirring to combine, just until mixture begins to form clumps.  The dough should be cohesive, but very sticky.
  6. Drop the dough by the 1/3-cupful onto the prepared pan.  Let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes,  until golden brown.

Strawberry-Cucumber Smoothie Recipe

strawberry-cucumber smoothie | pamela salzman

Thank heavens for the smoothie. When one of my teenage daughters oversleeps and has “no time” for breakfast, I can throw in the blender an assortment of fruits, vegetables and things that don’t normally go with fruits and vegetables (like hemp seeds or almond butter) and we’ve got a balanced meal in seconds. The smoothie is something even a 10-year-old like Mr. Picky can make by himself, and he does almost daily. His favorite is a combination of frozen banana, strawberry, pineapple, yogurt, coconut water, coconut butter and a squirt of Barleans Mango Omega Swirl. He even makes smoothies for his friends when they come over. So cute.

ingredients for smoothie

I love making smoothies at home, because I can control what goes into them, especially the sweetener. I rarely order smoothies in restaurants because I find them to be too sweet. And I’m not falling for what Jamba Juice considers a smoothie. Anything blended with frozen yogurt or sherbet is basically a fruity milkshake and it is not breakfast material.

I saw this recipe on Joy the Baker a while back and it made me think of flavored waters which I like to have on hand in the summer. (Just take a pitcher of water and toss in some cucumber slices or strawberries or watermelon or even pineapple rinds. Mint is fun to add in, too.) I loved this smoothie instantly. It felt like something I would have at a spa, and I sure don’t go to spas often enough!  There isn’t an overwhelming flavor of cucumber, it’s so subtle.  The smoothie feels lightly sweet and super refreshing.

I prepare this several different ways. Almond milk makes it creamy, and coconut water keeps it light and fresh, more like spa water. I don’t usually add extra sweetener to mine, but the kids like it a tad sweeter. Honey or even pitted dates work beautifully. And if I have fresh ginger on hand, I love to add a little for an extra special kick. Ginger is incredibly anti-inflammatory and so great for digestion. Cucumber is one of the most alkalizing foods and terrific for the skin.  And strawberries are rich in Vitamin C and other powerful phytonutrients.  Total beauty smoothie here!

The only missing from this smoothie is protein, so I wouldn’t consider this a meal.  But if you did want to include protein, I would throw in protein powder (keep in mind most are sweetened), hemp or chia seeds, or use yogurt instead of the almond milk.  Yogurt is more tart than almond milk, so you might need to add a little sweetener to balance it out.  If you’re tired of your same-old-same-old smoothie, give this one a try and get glowing!

strawberry-cucumber smoothie | pamela salzman

Strawberry-Cucumber Smoothie
Author: 
Serves: 2, but if you are serving younger kids, you could get 4 smoothies out of this
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup cold coconut water or unsweetened almond milk (click here for how to make your own)
  • 1 ½ cups frozen strawberries (click here for how to freeze fruit)
  • 1 Persian cucumber, unpeeled, cut into large chunks or ½ an English (hothouse) cucumber, seeds removed, cut into large chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon raw honey or sweetener of choice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon minced, peeled ginger (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  2. Add more almond milk as necessary, depending on your desired consistency.
Notes
Note:  you can substitute frozen blueberries or blackberries and add ground flax meal, hemp seeds or protein powder.

 

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce Recipe

strawberry-rhubarb sauce

It’s amazing what a little fruit sauce can do.

“How about some waffles for breakfast?”

“No00, thaaaanks.”

“How about some waffles with strawberry-rhubarb sauce for breakfast?”

“Really?  Is it a special occasion or something?”

Making fruit a little extra special always turns something standard into a little party!

maple sugar

scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod

I used to make this strawberry-rhubarb sauce to go with the Lemon-Ice Torte that I have been preparing for Passover since I graduated from college.  (If you’re new here, that was a loooooong time ago.)  I have always thought that the torte is delicious on its own, so one year I decided to stop making the sauce.  No one will miss it.  Wrong!  There was a revolt.  I should have realized that would happen since my family loves all things fruity and saucy.

dissolve sugar in water and add vanilla pod

 

strawberry-rhubarb sauce in the works

Even though I can find fresh rhubarb for a few weeks in the spring, I still follow the original recipe and use both frozen rhubarb and frozen strawberries.  These fruits make such a classic spring combo.  Unfortunately, because rhubarb is a tad tart, so many strawberry-rhubarb recipes are loaded with sugar.  I used as little coconut sugar as I my family would allow here, but feel free to adjust according to your taste.  I also tested this with maple sugar and I couldn’t tell the difference between the sauce with coconut sugar and the maple sugar.  Both are less refined sweeteners, but coconut sugar is a fraction of the price of maple sugar, FYI.

strawberry-rhubarb sauce

I thought this might be nice recipe to make for Easter since you can make it today and keep it refrigerated until Sunday.  The sauce goes beautifully with pancakes, French toast and waffles for brunch, or Greek yogurt and granola.  Or serve it over a simple pound cake or the Lemon Ice Torte  I posted a few years back.  Even if you’re looking to make this for a “special occasion,” the sauce is delicious on oatmeal, matzoh brei, frozen yogurt or ice cream. The truth is, this sauce is really simply to make, especially if you use frozen fruit.  You need no particular reason, no occasion to turn any day into something special!

strawberry-rhubarb sauce

Strawberry-Rhubarb Sauce
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup coconut sugar, maple sugar or cane sugar, divided
  • 6 Tablespoons water
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen unsweetened rhubarb
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen unsweetened strawberries
Instructions
  1. Combine half the sugar and all of the water in a heavy medium saucepan.  Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pot along with the pod.  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add remaining sugar and stir to dissolve.
  3. Add rhubarb.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, covered and simmer until rhubarb is just tender, about 8 minutes.
  4. Add strawberries and bring to a simmer.  Cool.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled.  Can be prepared several days ahead.  Remove vanilla pod before serving.

Dairy-free Cashew Cheesecake Recipe

dairy-free cashew cheesecake! | pamela salzman

I taught this luscious dessert in my classes two years ago, but I had seen cashew “cheesecakes” all over the place for many years. But of course I didn’t get it.  I didn’t understand how blended cashews could be turned into something that resembled cheesecake, a cheesecake that I would actually want to eat.  So I put off trying all these recipes that I saw on Pinterest and Foodily.  I caught glimpses of vegan cheesecakes made with chocolate, key limes, pumpkin, lemon and lavender, blueberries and so on.  I just wasn’t convinced.

making the crust

crust mixture ready to be pressed

My mother-in-law and I have an arrangement for Passover — I make all the desserts for both seders and she does everything else.  I clearly got the easier, more fun job.  However baking for Passover, a holiday which revolves around NOT eating anything with grains or flour made from grains, isn’t as straightforward as baking for any other holiday.  But I still have lots of fun coming up with delicious treats that don’t involve a box of Manischewitz cake mix.  Every year I make the very traditional coconut macaroons, as well as a lemon ice torte that I have been making since I graduated from college.  And no holiday would be complete without something chocolate, so I bake a few mini-flourless chocolate cakes.  So delicious.

soak cashews

drain the soaked cashews

But I can never leave well enough alone, so one year I decided to give this cashew cheesecake thing a go. OMG.  Get out of here. I was blown away!  And then super bummed I had let so many opportunities to go by when I could have been enjoying this deliciousness.  The texture is so much like cheesecake.  Very rich and creamy, and slightly sweet.  I really couldn’t get over it.  Of course the crust is raw and vegan, consistent with the rest of the cake.  But I think you could go with a graham cracker crust and fool everyone into thinking this is cheesecake.

scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean

spread the first mixture onto the crust

then the strawberry mixture

What amazed me about this cake is how digestible it is and how clean the ingredients are.  We use soaked raw cashews (read my post about why soaking nuts and seeds is beneficial to your health,) coconut oil (such a good, healthful fat), honey or maple syrup (not going to save your life, but less acid-forming than refined sugar), lemon juice and vanilla.  Amazing.  Although, I did a little rough math and this isn’t the kind of dessert you can eat very often because it’s really high in (good) fat and calories.  Just saying, in case you were tempted to eat half a cake.  Not a good idea.  In fact, I put on a few pounds in the months I was testing this recipe.  True story.  But this is a fantastic idea for Passover or Easter and no one will ever in a million years guess what’s in it.  Another fun Passover dessert coming soon!

vegan cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman raw vegan cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman raw vegan cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman

cashew cheesecake | pamela salzman

 

Dairy-free Cashew Cheesecake
Author: 
Serves: 10-12 (because it's rich, you want to cut small slices)
 
Ingredients
  • Crust:
  • 1 cup raw almonds (or pecans or walnuts)
  • 1 cup soft Medjool dates, pitted (about 10)
  • ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • Filling:
  • 3 cups (1 pound) raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours or overnight, and drained
  • ⅔ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ⅔ cup unrefined coconut oil, melted (if you have a Vitamix, no need to melt)
  • ⅔ cup raw honey (not vegan) or Grade A maple syrup (vegan, but not raw)
  • Seeds from 2 whole vanilla beans (or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries (my preference) or raspberries (thaw completely if frozen)
Instructions
  1. Place almonds, dates, coconut and salt in a food processor and process until the mixture holds together (it should be sticky). Transfer the mixture onto the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.
  2. In a Vita-Mix or food processor, place all filling ingredients (except strawberries) and process on high until very smooth. This may take a minute or two.
  3. Pour about 3 cups of the mixture onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the strawberries to the Vita-Mix/food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the first layer of filling. Place in the freezer until solid. Cover with foil to protect from freezer burn.
  4. To serve, remove from the freezer at least 60 minutes prior to eating. After it has defrosted, store in the refrigerator until ready to eat. Run a thin knife between the cake and the pan and then release the springform ring. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the refrigerator if you plan to eat within a few days. Otherwise, store leftovers in the freezer.
Notes
Unfortunately, there is no substitute for the cashews which become very creamy when blended, nor the coconut oil, which solidifies when refrigerated and gives the cake its firmness, otherwise it would be a gloopy mess.

Mixed berry cobbler recipe (slow cooker version, too!)

Mixed Berry Cobbler Recipe | Pamela Salzman

Do you know the difference between a crisp, a cobbler, a slump, a grunt and a brown betty?  I hear the terms used interchangeably, when of course, they’re not the same at all.  A cobbler has a biscuit topping, a crisp has a crunchy oat and sugar topping, a slump/grunt is like a cobbler, but it is finished on the stovetop so that the biscuits are steamed, rather than browned, and a brown betty is topped with buttered bread crumbs.  Just so we’re all on the same page.  And just so you don’t go ordering a cobbler at a restaurant thinking you are getting something with a buttery, crunchy, oat topping only to be served a bowl of cooked fruit with a biscuit on top.  I hate when that happens.

Mixed Berry Cobbler Recipe | Pamela Salzman

Mixed Berry Cobbler Recipe | Pamela Salzman

Not that a cobbler is bad.  Oh no, friends.  Cobblers are very, very good.  Especially when strawberries are in season and they are about as luscious as can be.  When strawberries debut at our local farmer’s markets, I feel like a bear coming out of hibernation, like I’m taking a breath of fresh air.  It’s spring!  Weeeee!  I can finally tell Mr. Picky, “Yes, it’s finally strawberry season!”  I swear I have been buying strawberries lately like they’re never coming back.  They’re in the kids’ lunches several times a week, in breakfast smoothies and acai bowls and chopped into pancakes.  I even did a crazy thing and added a little bit of chia seed and water to some mashed up strawberries and let it thicken into a raw jam/spread.  I thought it was really good.  Then I smeared some in between two slices of whole grain bread and made a stuffed strawberry French toast, if you will.  Really tasty!

Mixed Berry Cobbler | Pamela Salzman

I was feeling spunky last weekend and thought I would surprise everyone with a special dessert, which I knew had to have strawberries in it.  So I started pulling together my favorite cobbler with strawberries as well as whatever berries I had in the freezer.  I had this moment of genius when I thought, I bet I could do this in a slow cooker!  I bet no one in the world has ever done a cobbler in a slow cooker.  I am going to revolutionize the food world with this brilliant idea!  Of course, one quick search on Foodily and I saw that 20 other people/websites already came up with that same idea.  I hate when that happens.  Grumpy face.  Although one of the recipes called for a can of apple pie filling and a box of yellow cake mix.  I mean, is that even a recipe?   That is such a gross idea.  Don’t even think about trying it.

Mixed Berry Cobbler | Pamela Salzman

Why would you when you can have this wholesome, fresh, clean and YUMMY cobbler for just a little more effort?  I have two versions here, one baked in the oven and the other in the slow cooker.  The oven cobbler has a much prettier presentation, with the classic, nicely browned “cobbled” texture on top and baked in a dish you can actually bring to the table.  But it’s nice to know you can can use your slow cooker for more than just shredded meat.  I was thinking it would be great for the summer so you don’t have to turn your oven on to make a fruit dessert.  The look wasn’t quite as lovely since I spread the dough on the bottom of the insert and laid the fruit on top.  I wanted the fruit to stay intact and not get cooked into a pot of mush.  Which it did not.

Mixed Berry Cobbler | Pamela Salzman

Either way, the ingredients stay the same for both.  I have used whole spelt flour, whole wheat pastry and white whole wheat all with success.  I know that you can use  gluten-free flour like Kind Arthur with a little added xanthan gum and achieve an equally tasty result.  If you’ve made cobbler before, you might think my recipe doesn’t have enough sweetener.  But I promise, give this a go and you’ll be surprised how much you enjoy tasting the actual fruit and not just sugar.  Of course, a little ice cream on top doesn’t taste bad.  Or, I look forward to leftovers the next morning with a dollop of sheep’s yogurt.  Unless someone ate it all and left me none when I couldn’t stop dreaming about it all night.  Ooooh, I hate when that happens!

Mixed Berry Cobbler | Pamela Salzman

Mixed Berry Cobbler | Pamela Salzman

Mixed Berry Cobbler | Pamela Salzman

5.0 from 1 reviews
Mixed Berry Cobbler
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
Ingredients
  • 6 cups mixed fresh berries, or frozen, thawed
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar organic cane sugar or brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons flour, such as spelt or your favorite GF flour such as rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest, not packed
  • 1 ½ cups whole spelt flour, whole whet pastry, white whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour OR King Arthur Multi-purpose GF Flour + 1 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoons aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup OR organic cane sugar (if you use maple syrup, add to buttermilk; if you use sugar, add to flour)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance, cut in small pieces + more for greasing baking dish
  • ¾ cup buttermilk (or unsweetened non-dairy milk + 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter or organic Earth Balance, melted or 1 Tablespoon buttermilk*
  • 1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9–or 10-inch square shallow baking dish or pie plate.
  2. In a medium bowl, gently toss the berries with 3 Tbs. flour, ¼ cup sugar and zest. Transfer berries into the prepared pan. Set aside and reserve the bowl.
  3. To make the cobbler topping, blend the 1 ½ cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, 2 Tbs. sugar (if using), salt and butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender or pulse in a food processor just until most of the mixture resembles coarse meal. Transfer to the same bowl used to mix the berries and stir in the buttermilk and maple syrup (if using) until well combined.
  4. Using your fingertips, rub the buttermilk mixture until it begins to clump together. Take a heaping spoonful of dough and place it on top of the berries. Don’t cover the berries completely. Brush with melted butter or buttermilk and sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden and cooked through.
Notes
*For a golden glaze, brush the biscuits with melted butter. For a more brown crust, brush them with buttermilk.

You can use either maple syrup or cane sugar (not both) in the cobbler topping. Pick one sweetener! Please read the directions carefully since the maple syrup is added with the buttermilk and the cane sugar is added to the dry ingredients.

To increase the recipe to serve 12, multiply all ingredients by 1 ½ and use a 13 x 9–inch baking dish. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

To Make in the Slow Cooker:
Follow all directions for cobbler in the oven except dollop the cobbler topping on the bottom of the slow cooker insert and  pour the fruit mixture on top.  Cover and cook on LOW for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until biscuit mixture is cooked through.  The time will depend on how wide your slow cooker is.

Acai Bowl Recipe

 

I am a little bit of a skeptic, I’ll admit.  When a new food comes onto the scene claiming to save your life, I have to raise an eyebrow.  One food can’t do it all.  If you’ve noticed, I try not to beat anyone over the head with nutrition facts but rather emphasize a diet of a wide variety of mostly plant-based whole foods.  Eating seasonally, locally and organically helps too, but first things first.

Many years ago I started hearing the praises of acai (prononced ah-sigh-EE), a berry native to the Amazon (the rainforest, not the online shopping site).  Acai’s claims to fame are its insane antioxidant levels (more than blueberries!), healthful fats and a good smattering of iron, calcium and beta-carotene.  It also happens to be very low in carbs and sugar.  What I love is acai’s deep berry, almost chocolatey flavor.  Delicious, I promise you.

“Acai bowls” are popular in Brazil, but have found a loyal following in the US in areas with year-round warm weather, such as Hawaii and Baja California.  They’re kind of like a super thick smoothie/soft serve sorbet that you eat with a spoon.  Beacause acai bowls are so soft and creamy, they beg for toppings with a little texture.  The most traditional way they are eaten is with a scoop of granola, sliced fresh bananas and a drizzle of honey.  I was at a hotel in San Diego a few years ago when I saw an acai bowl on the menu and I very enthusiastically ordered it.

Let’s cut to the chase here — my family and I have been addicted to these since that day.  Not only that, but I have taught all three of my kids how to make them so when their friends come over they can throw together a nutritious and tasty snack in minutes, and one which their friends probably haven’t had anywhere else.  Cool!  One day, the mom of one of Mr. Picky’s friends came over holding a packet of frozen acai with a look of desperation and said, “Just tell me what to do with this.”  Many of my kids’ friends are hooked, too!  I let everyone choose their own toppings, which can include granola, flaked coconut, walnuts, cacao nibs, sliced almonds and cut up fresh fruit like bananas, strawberries or blueberries.  Mr. Picky always adds a small handful of mini chocolate chips and I’m okay with that since there’s no other added sugar here.

Now that the weather is becoming warmer, I wanted to share this recipe so you could enjoy it for the whole summer (I love that word!).  Since my version isn’t super sweet, I think with the right toppings an acai bowl makes a great breakfast, post-workout snack or even dessert.  You can see from the recipe that there isn’t anything too suspect or worrisome, just a bit of fruit sugar.  Wouldn’t you prefer these ingredients which are paired with vitamins, minerals, fiber, good fats and antioxidants over artificially-colored and flavored popsicles?  Thought so.  But just so we’re clear, I’m not trying to convince you that acai bowls are a magic cure for anything other than a craving for something cool, creamy and very delicious!

Acai Bowls
Author: 
Serves: 2 generously
 
Ingredients
  • 2 packets frozen acai puree (break it into pieces first to make it easier on your blender)
  • 1 frozen or fresh* ripe banana (cut into pieces) or a heaping cup of frozen mango chunks
  • 1 large handful frozen or fresh* blueberries, strawberries, mango or peaches
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice or apple juice or almond milk*
  • Topping suggestions: granola, sliced bananas, fresh berries, coconut, chopped nuts, cacao nibs
Instructions
  1. Add acai, fruit and juice to a blender and puree until smooth, but thick. A Vitamix does this very easily, but if you have a standard blender you'll just have to scrape down the sides every so often. Divide between two individual bowls and add toppings of choice. Serve immediately.
Notes
*Frozen fruit will give you a better texture and make it more like soft serve ice cream.

**fruit juice will make the acai bowl a little sweeter than almond milk but the almond milk makes it taste a little creamier. If you use almond milk, taste it before serving and if necessary, sweeten with a little raw honey or add a pitted date or two to the blender and puree.

**You can add your favorite protein powder to make it a more complete breakfast.

Low-Sugar Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Have you ever eaten a piece of fruit and said, “this is the best darn [insert name of fruit here] I ever had”?  I’ve been saying that daily with strawberries and every time I do, my kids roll their eyes with that look like, “here we go again.”  It’s just that when strawberries are so deep red, fragrant, juicy and sweet as they have been, I get emotional.  I also want to take a minute to enjoy them since their season doesn’t last forever.

I hadn’t made dessert for the kids in a while.  So I thought it would be fun to surprise them with something special after dinner on Sunday, and I wanted to incorporate strawberries.  One of the easiest and quickest desserts to make is fruit shortcakes.  The classic is strawberry shortcake, but I have used blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, nectarines and (my favorite) peaches.  I do not exaggerate when I say that you will have your biscuits on the pan ready to be baked before your oven is preheated.   For that reason, it’s an especially fun dessert to make with your kids.  They can knead the dough, cut out the biscuits, brush the tops with cream and sprinkle them with sugar.  I had a great time baking these with Mr. Picky, who was very proud when he announced to everyone that he made dessert.  The kids love strawberry shortcake because they can assemble their own and pile on as much fruit and whipped cream as they want.  I like it because it is a very low sugar dessert, maybe 1 1/2 teaspoons per person which doesn’t even get a sugar nazi like me worked up.  So many fruit desserts call for silly amounts of sugar which is unnecessary if the fruit tastes good to start.  I want the dessert to taste like the fruit I am using and not just sweet.

Traditionally strawberry shortcake is just a barely sweetened biscuit split with whipped cream and fresh fruit piled onto the bottom half of the biscuit.   But who wants to stick with tradition all the time?  Besides mixing it up with different fruits, we have also had fun using toppings other than whipped cream.  Have you tried my favorite way?  A biscuit with yogurt, strawberries and sliced almonds?  Freakin’ delicious.  When the kids were much younger, I used to do mini-shortcakes which are great for little ones or for a party .  You can add mini-chocolate chips to the dough or shave some dark chocolate on top of your berries and cream.   If whipped cream and yogurt aren’t your thing, try putting a can of coconut milk in the fridge for a few hours and scoop the top out and use that instead.  However you slice it, strawberry shortcake is a classic dessert that is always welcome!

Low-Sugar Strawberry Shortcake
Author: 
Serves: makes 8-9 shortcakes
 
Ingredients
  • Shortcakes:
  • 2 cups flour (I like 1 cup whole wheat pastry and 1 cup all-purpose)
  • ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 Tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar + additional for sprinkling on top
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream, half and half or whole milk
  • Whipped cream, whole yogurt or coconut milk cream
  • Fresh sliced strawberries or other seasonal fruit
  • Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the flour(s), salt, baking powder and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse a couple times to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles small peas or pebbles. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Add the cream and blend with a fork until just combined.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a couple times to bring the dough together. Roll out to a ¾-inch thick disc and cut into 2 ½ -inch circles with a round cookie cutter or small glass dipped in flour. Gather the scraps, roll again and cut more rounds until you have used up all the dough. Transfer the dough pieces to the prepared pan and space evenly apart.
  5. This is optional, but it creates a light golden color: remove 1 Tablespoon of cream from the cup for whipped cream and use that to brush the tops of the shortcakes. Sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake 17 minutes, or until puffed and lightly browned.
  6. Cool the shortcakes slightly on a wire rack.
  7. Whip the heavy cream with sugar until soft peaks form. Dollop on a split shortcake and serve with fresh berries.